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What is environmental protection all about?

by on October 4, 2018 | Top Stories, Career Guide

What is environmental protection all about? -

Have you always been interested in conservation but don’t know where to start? Want to find out more about what the field of environmental protection is about? How about the courses you can pursue and the career prospects in this field? Read on to find out!

Environmental protection focuses on solving problems arising from the interaction between humans and environmental systems and includes issues related to conservation, pollution, loss of biodiversity, land degradation or environmental policy.

The key aim of environmental protection is to prevent the degradation of the natural environment which is affected by increasing population, technology and overconsumption, all of which have created a negative impact on the environment and continue to put humans and animals at risk.

Another element of environmental protection is resource management – the way humans interact with the natural world in order to protect and preserve natural ecosystems. This may involve considering ethical, economic and ecological variables in order to limit environmental degradation.

Some of the biggest problems in environmental protection today are related to fossil fuels, which are related to pollution, climate change, and natural resource depletion. Another environmental issue that has been gaining prominence is water pollution by plastics, which has had a harmful impact on marine life and ecosystems.

What you will study

Courses in this field are all about understanding environmental processes and systems. You may study subjects like sustainable development and planning, global climate change, ecological survey techniques, atmospheric and climate sciences, biogeochemistry, conservation biology, ecology, environmental modelling, geospatial mapping and technologies, environmental policies and legislation, and more.

Courses in this field are multidisciplinary – it challenges students to combine skills and knowledge from a variety of different fields. This could mean exploring aspects of biology, chemistry, physics, geography, earth and marine sciences, and also social sciences. Students will learn to combine multiple perspectives and data sources in order to build up a fuller understanding of natural and human environments.

Fieldwork is an important part of most environmental protection courses. Students often participate in field trips to study and experience different habitats, climates, land formations and societies. You can also expect to spend a fair amount of time in the lab, learning how to carry out different types of tests and analyses. It is common for students to undertake voluntary work in an environment-related role, which provides valuable experience to prepare them for future environmental protection careers.

Is this course right for you?

Do you want to understand more about the environmental problems we currently face? Do you want to learn ways we can reduce the negative effects of these problems, and keep our environment more sustainable?

Working in this field requires a good understanding of the existing issues and potential issues that may arise in the short, medium or long term at local, national and international levels, such as global warming, changes in production, waste disposal, pollution, and resource management.

If you’re interested in this field, your main motivation for working in this sector should be the desire to make a positive impact on the environment. You also need good research skills and a technical mind. Understanding, patience, empathy and adaptability are important traits to have. It’s absolutely essential that you are able to be tactful and diplomatic when dealing with clients as well as the communities you work with.

Courses in environmental protection

Courses in environmental protection are offered at foundation, certificate, diploma, and bachelor degree level. Postgraduate study in this field is also offered at selected higher education institutions.

Career prospects

Careers in this field of study can be divided into the following sectors:

  • Environmental consultancy
  • Environmental education and advocacy
  • Environmental engineering and sciences
  • Environmental management
  • Environmental policy, legislation and regulation
  • Environmental planning
  • Environmental research
  • Natural resource management
  • Nature conservation
  • Recycling
  • Waste management
  • Water quality


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